3 Reasons Every Runner Should Hike
I love a good hike. It’s such an amazing way to slow down and enjoy your surroundings. Plus, it’s a great way to build a solid fitness foundation and to prevent injury. I run a lot, but make sure to get out and hike one to two days per week to give my legs, body and mind a rest.
I’m actually heading out for a hike in a bit with my dog, Omena. We are heading to Red Bird Hollow in Indian Hill. After a pretty active week, I am taking a rest day. For me, a rest day is a 3-mile hike at Red Bird Hollow or around my neighborhood with my dog. I know some people do nothing on their rest days, but my body really needs to move everyday or I just feel stuck and down. So, I just keep it nice and easy.
Here is the breakdown of my active week:
Monday: ran 6 miles and did a strength training workout
Tuesday: 30 mile bike ride plus a 3 mile hike with friends
Wednesday: ran 3 miles and walked one mile
Thursday: biked 30 miles plus strength training
Friday: easy 3 mile hike
Hiking is so, so good for runners for many reasons.
Here at my top 3:
1) Injury Prevention. Hiking improves balance and builds a solid fitness foundation in your muscles without the impact. Your body and joints can only take so much pounding before you start to get injuries. Hiking strengthens the body without being hard on it. It is also a great challenge for your ankles and increases your core strength which improves balance and brings more stability in the body. The more stability you have the less likely you are to get injured.
2) Slowing Down. Most runners I know live at lightning speed and love to record the times of their runs. Hiking is a great way to slow down and look around. It is also the perfect time to take the watch off and simply enjoy the moment. Think about how much you miss when you are running and focused on just getting the run done. Leave that all behind when you hit the trail for a hike. It’s a time to take in the fresh air, listen to the sounds of the woods and enjoy the view.
3) Fun. Hiking is just fun! Plain and simple. It’s easy to take fitness too seriously and to become obsessed with logging a certain amount of miles each week or each day. I know. I am guilty of it. Hiking brings a sense of fun, ease and play into fitness. It’s a great time to put the serious down and to just enjoy. Yes, you can hit a certain number of miles if you must. Just make sure you smile and if you are with a friend enjoy the conversation and just let go.
I suggest getting out for a hike at least once a week. It is so good for your health to connect with nature in this way. One of my favorite apps that can help guide you to the closest trail near you is called “AllTrails.” The basic version is free and it is a great guide. I also recommend either going with a friend or taking your dog not only for the fun of it, but also for safety.
Enjoy & Happy Trails,
Heather Feather <3